Tim Chamberlain has 11 years under his belt as a small business owner in Rogers. For the last 10 years, he's been trying to get his business, Minnesota Screens, a booth at the Minnesota State Fair.
"This year they called us and said they had a spot for us," said Chamberlain, as he stood by his booth in the Home Improvement Building of the fairgrounds.
It's estimated the Minnesota State Fair has a more than $200 million dollar economic impact on the Twin Cities metro alone. Securing one of the 1,5000 vendor spots at the state fair can be a boon for local businesses.
For Chamberlain, it will cost him several thousand dollars to display his business of retractable screens for homes and patios at the state fair, but 12 days of fair exposure could net a crowd of customers for his business year-round.
"We've given away a lot of brochures, hundreds of brochures," said Chamberlain. "It's good just to get our product out there, so people see it, touch it, feel it."
It's a competitive process to get a spot at the fair, hundreds don't make the cut each year. Sometimes it's a space issue, other times it's a question of whether the product is the right fit for the fair.
"We're not really interested in products or services that are a flash in the pan," said Brienna Schuette, the fair's marketing and communication manager.
For local businesses at the fair, the exposure is what they pay for each year. Around 70 percent of the vendors displaying at the state fair are Minnesota businesses. Last year, fair attendance rose to 1.73 million.
"The per day attendance at the Minnesota State Fair rivals that of Disney World, so everyday there are typically upwards of 100,000 people here," said Schuette.
Chamberlain hopes his first run at the state fair will translate into sales this fall and winter, but he's already hoping to make a return fair visit next year.
Alexandra Renslo reporting http://twelve.tv http://www.facebook.com/12localnews http://twitter.com/12Sports
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